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Burgues, Panama Hamburger Lounge

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Written by Matt   
Friday, 05 June 2009 07:44
Burgues PanamaLocated about a block past Market in Panama City off Calle Uruguay (in the direction of Calle Frederico Boyd), healing Burgues sits recessed somewhat from the street and could be easily mistaken for a high-end furniture or lighting gallery. Inside is a cool mix of glamour and quirk that works in such an intimate atmosphere. The space no bigger than a school classroom. The menu is simple and relatively straightforward with tiny aspects of the Middle East like hummus and babaganoush. We started with a chili con carne dish, site which was flavorful but somehow lacking identity: a giant spoonful of the mixture sat in a fried tortilla shell accompanied by several sauces and three fried tortilla vehicles.  The variety of burgers (other than the obligatory chicken, fish and meat dishes) got rave reviews from members of our group, one of whom called the Swiss Burger the best burger he'd eaten in years. Then again, this is the same person who cherishes a photo of Ronald McDonald on his Blackberry so his judgment may be skewed.

The service at Burgues was overwhelmingly attentive. Imagine a new waiter being told the rules of the game and accordingly trying to turn as many tables as he can in one night: the result, a super rushed meal and somewhat pushy urge to sell as many drinks as possible. "Can I get you another bottle of water?" was the question asked four times before we could even finish our glass. "Can I get you some dessert? Tea? Coffee?" was the question asked while one member of our group was still trying to get a hamburger down the hatch.

"He's still trying to finish his meal," I told the waiter, who looked back at me with a face that said, I'm not trying to serve him another hamburger, we've moved on to dessert. Would you like some?

The hamburgers at Burgues are solid, all offered in six or eight ounce portions and served with mesclun, tomato, onion, and waffle fries which (for us) came out limp and room temperature. With its plasma TV by the bar, cold beers and chicken wings, Burgues Panama could be a great gameday stop for NFL matches (certainly more stylish than TGIF), particularly when their outdoor terrace is finished. That I call Burgues a Hamburger Lounge may sound strange, as if upon walking in, you may find meat patties relaxing on beach chairs and sesame buns giggling by the pool. But in reality that's exactly what it is: a trendy hamburger bar.

Burgues is the kind of restaurant Panama City needs more of: hip decor, high quality ingredients, and extremely affordable prices. The restaurant's namesake, Burgues itself, means bourgeois in Spanish, perhaps a play on the fact that even the humble working class of Panama could spare six dollars for a good burger. The owner spent years in New York and clearly brought back a sense of the chic while embracing the power of value: Burgues, by my estimates, and at these prices, will be full for a while.  

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Good stuff
written by Sagitar , June 05, 2009
Liked the food and ambiance. You are right, the service was really rushed and (at times) annoying. But a nice flavorful overall alternative to Panama's bland dining scene.
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Chiriqui
written by Panamameat , June 06, 2009
Panama has some of the best beef I have eaten in my life (and served at the most inexpensive prices). The steak from Chiriqui (the good stuff) is a little-known world class product of Panama. In fact, the coffee is world class too. How about Panama focuses on the things it has that are truly special as opposed to their sky scrapers? Maybe its because a meat campaign on TV in Europe may not fare so well?
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best beef?
written by Sumfin Furryvrone , June 19, 2009
curtain or rod? Me, I skip the skirt and go straight for the curtains. You seem like you like the beef sub, no? Enjoy that but remember to drop a load of vinegar on it first, you wouldnae want to catch something.
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